Monday, July 27, 2009


Here is a rather short and short-sided article written by CNN Money about an "endangered breed" of "family doctors."

Interestingly, it ends with asking the question:

Should specialists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants be encouraged to fill in the gap left by shortage of primary care doctors? We want to hear about your experiences.

Now, the article mentions nothing about NPs or PAs yet asks for reader experiences. Fair enough. However, the barrage of degrading and insulting comments from self-identified physicians and others in healthcare are downright angry. I wonder what impact this has on their patient care.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Get it Right

The media has picked up a story of a tragic alcohol-related death of a 16 year old male. His autopsy reportedly revealed a relatively low blood alcohol level but high levels of papaverine, a drug sometimes used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. What do the headlines read?

Erectile drug mystery in teen's death at party

Traces of erectile drug found in dead teen

The problem here is that papaverine needs to be INJECTED into the penis to work for erectile dysfunction. Oral forms of papavarine are not routinely used and will do nothing for erectile issues. The headlines can cause people to panic because the complete medical information is not presented in the articles. This boy suffocated on his own vomit when he was unconscious due to a combination of alcohol and this medication found in his bloodstream. Questions surround why this medication was found in his bloodstream and perhaps these articles were crafted to bring increased attention to the case as his family were growing frustrated with the investigation (Orinda mother calls death investigation 'shockingly passive').

Nonetheless, a tragedy such as this should highlight the need for teen education when we are talking about toxic drinking. A new program has begun at Stonybrook University in Long Island, New York called the Red Watch Band that specifically covers this topic. This project was started after a Stonybrook faculty member lost her own son, a college freshman while away at another college, to an alcohol overdose.

When used properly with consultation from your health care provider, there is little need to worry about the FDA oral prescription medication (Viagra, Cialis and Levitra) or injectable medications (Edex, papavarine) used to treat erectile dysfunction although reading only these headlines may cause you to think otherwise.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WOW - Obama on Nurses

Here is some validation for the work that we do as recognized by our Commander in Chief. Thank you, Mr. President. Now its time to "Buck up!"


Here is a great initiative that the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched on the Future of Nursing in America.

This gives a wonderful depiction on how nurses and nurse practitioners will be part of providing the solution to health care reform. As we have sensational portrayals of nurses in such recent series as Nurse Jackie and HawthoRNe, it is refreshing to have a vivid description of the impact nurses have in health care in America. This goes beyond the petty back and forth between other health care providers that is good for TV and some blogs and puts us on the high road - that is, taking better care of our patients, their families and our communities. And quite frankly, that to me is what it's all about.

Friday, July 10, 2009


A friend of mine was recently browsing McNeill's Monistat website and noted that their "Ask the Expert" section is authored by a team of Nurse Practitioners. Kudos to McNeill for utilizing NPs as experts in women's health.